Barcelona is currently weighing whether to renovate and expand its current stadium, Nou Camp, or build a new stadium at a different location. The club’s board of directors will decide early next month, according to the BBC.
“We’ve made advances, we have all the information and we’re in a position to make a decision,” board spokesman Toni Freixa said.
The Nou Camp’s current capacity is 99,354, and most seats are out in the open air, exposing fans to potential elements. Barcelona’s future home will hold more fans and have a roof that will cover most, if not all of the seats.
“Both would have a capacity of 105,000 spectators, the stadium would be covered,” Freixa added.
Barcelona’s future home will be the third-largest soccer stadium in the world, trailing only the 150,000-seat Rungrado May Day stadium in North Korea and the 120,000-seat Saltlake Stadium in Calcuta, India.
A new stadium would sit on land belonging to the University of Barcelona. If the board chooses to renovate Nou Camp, Barcelona would continue to play at the stadium during the three years it would take to complete the project.
Freixa expects that renovating Nou Camp would cost around €300 million ($413.5 million), while a new stadium would cost around €600 million ($827 million). The club was carrying over €335 million ($407 million) in debt — as of summer 2012 — but the board insists it will be able to pay for the stadium project.
“It needs to be viable from a technical perspective, urbanist and economic. We would never submit a project that would endanger the sustainability of the club.”
The project would also include a new, 12,000-seat indoor arena where Barcelona’s basketball, handball, roller hockey, and futsal teams would play.
Barcelona has played at Nou Camp since 1957. It hosted the European Cup final in 1989 and the UEFA Champions League final in 1999. A new or renovated stadium would certainly be in contention to host high-profile finals in the future, bringing more revenue into the club’s coffers.
This looks like another classic case of the big getting bigger.
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